Half Day Takes It All the Way

Lincolnshire School Team Wins K5 National Championship

The Half Day winning team (l to r): Haoyang Yu, James Wei, Jack XIao, Conrad Oberhaus and Alex BianThe five-member team from Half Day School in Lincolnshire are coming home with the first place trophy in the K5 Championship Division at the just concluded National Elementary Championships.  The top four scorers--Alex Bian, Conrad Oberhaus, James Wei and Jack Xiao--whose points are counted toward the team total, collectively had just two losses in the whole tournament.  All four are 2010 ICA Warren Scholars.  Their team record was 19 wins, 7 draws and 2 losses, giving them a total of 22.5 points and putting them in clear first by a full point over another powerhouse team, Stevenson Elementary in Bellevue, Washington.  The fifth player, Haoyang Yu, had a very respectable plus score of 4 points.  It's the second national championship for the Lincolnshire team.  Bian and Oberhaus had 6 points each, finishing on tiebreaks in third and fifth places, respectively.  Wei scored 5.5 points and finished 13th indivudually on tiebreaks, and Xiao, a third-grader and the team's youngest player, tied for 19th place (38 on tiebreaks) with five points.

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Youth Committee Undertakes an Ambitious Agenda

by Jerry Neugarten and Eileen Schmakel

The ICA Youth Committee, appointed in December, began meeting in January and is at work on a number of projects intended to spur the growth of youth chess in Illinois. The formation of the committee is described in a December article in these pages by Tom Sprandel (Announcements, "Cooperative Effort Leads to New ICA Committees"). Short bios of the Committee's 28 members appear in the Youth Committee section of this website.

In one of its first meetings, the Youth Committee adopted a mission statement which states, in part: "Every child should have the opportunity to learn and play chess." This grew out of our belief that chess is beneficial for every child, and a concern that chess programs are not available to many kids who could most benefit from them. Much of our work is therefore guided by a focus on inclusiveness.

Developing web resources to foster program development. Our primary focus during our first three months has been on two goals: compiling information to make it easier to start new chess programs, and providing resources to existing programs. Some of this will be done in new sections of this website.

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Local youth players get some press

Check out this article from the Doings Weekly, featuring a local team that played in the recent FIDE World School Team Championships.


NM Rosen Wins Denker, Xu wins Girls Invitational

NM Eric RosenPenny XuPhotos: Betsy Dynako

NM Eric Rosen and Penny Xu both emerged as winners in two prestigious events this weekend, Rosen in the Illinois high school Denker qualifier which wrapped up Monday and Xu in the state girls invitational which ended Sunday. Rosen, a sophomore at Niles North High School in Skokie, will go on to be the Illinois representative in the National Denker Tournament of High School Champions in Irvine, California this summer. Xu, a seventh grader from Champaign, plans to attend both the Kasparov Girls Open in Columbus, Ohio next month and the National Girls Open in Irvine this summer.

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More than 600 Compete at State K8

    More than 600 players from across the state gathered in St. Charles last weekend to play in the State K8 Elementary Chess Championships.  While historically these tournaments often sport multiple ties for first place, this one was unusual in that all four playing sections--grades K-1, 2-3, 4-5 and 6-8-- had one undefeated player who was the clear winner. 
    In the middle school division, 8th-grader Penny (Yue) Xu, of Champaign, who entered the 161-player section as the number 4 seed, put together a string of seven wins that included a fifth round upset against top seed Sam Schmakel, who won the division two years ago as a sixth-grader.  Penny became the first girl in many years to win the section.  She saw her rating climb more than 60 points to 1812, making her the top-rated female under 18 in Illinois.  She’ll be competing this weekend with five other girls in a round robin invitational sponsored by the ICA Warren Junior Scholar program.
    In the 186-player K5 section, competition at the top was particularly tough, with at least nine players boasting a rating of 1400 or better coming into the tournament.  Fifth-grader Bryce McClanahan of Glenview, the number two seed, managed to hold his ground and go 7-0, earning his third state championship title and boosting his rating to an all-time high of 1791.  Bryce won the K1 division in 2006, and the K3 division in 2007.

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